Chairman Hancock Column – October 30, 2020

By Ned Hancock, Chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission

After the inaugural meeting of the Florida Citrus Commission in 1935, the Orlando Sentinel heralded its creation as a landmark event.

“The Commission comprises all interests: Shippers and growers; it is well distributed; it has more power than any similar body. Its success means benefit to all of Florida.”

That same year, the Miami Herald added: “…if it actually is a handmaiden of the grower and serves to improve his cash returns and better his marketing connections, the people will not be long in discovering the fact and lauding its creation as a major part of Florida’s recovery.”

In the 85 years since, I believe we have witnessed just that. Through good times and bad, the Commission has never lost sight of its mission. The Florida Citrus industry remains a major contributor to the state’s economy, provides jobs for thousands of our neighbors and continues to produce the world’s best tasting fruit and juice.

This is possible because those before us believed that investing in the future of our industry was critical to its success.

Last week, the Commission made the decision to continue that legacy. After years without a change in the box assessment for processed oranges, we voted to support a marketing budget that will build upon the momentum currently in place. Through strategic marketing programs, the Department of Citrus is driving sales of Florida Orange Juice and keeping it top of mind for returning consumers. Since July, the FDOC e-commerce campaign has delivered more than 99 million impressions and $2.7 million in attributed sales of 100% orange juice at a campaign ROAS of $5.31.

As I end my time as Chairman and Commissioner, I am proud of the work that is being done at the FDOC. Through a series of intentional steps, driven by research and data, the Department has shifted its marketing plans entirely, created a new tagline, expanded its audience, adopted new technology and kept pace with changing consumer trends in order to deliver real time results with measurable impacts for Florida growers.

But we didn’t do it alone. Industry participation has been a vital part of the process and continues to be crucial. The Orlando Sentinel was right, all those years ago, when it marveled at the power we have. The Florida Citrus Commission is one of the only agricultural organizations in the United States that gets to govern itself. I firmly believe it is one of the key reasons for our success. We must never take this unique power for granted.

In parting, I ask that you never stop making your voice heard. If you don’t like something, tell your commissioner. If you have a great idea, pass it along. Individually we are only so strong, but together we can make a difference.

Thank you for allowing me to serve this industry. I remain committed to ensuring its success today, tomorrow and for years to come.

Originally published in the Florida Citrus Mutual Triangle